Tag Archives: blogging

Interview with Fabiola Woerner (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Today, I’m finishing up my interview series in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month 2014. I’m pleased to share an interview with Fabiola Woerner, a Chilean-American multi-craftual blogger. I met Fabi through a group for crochet bloggers, but she also sews and embroiders, and shares printables and tips for raising bilingual children on her blogs. On Tales of a Crafty Mommy, Fabi shares crochet projects, patterns, and tutorials; sewing and embroidery projects; recipes; and tips for raising bilingual children. On Bilingual Mami, Fabi shares homeschooling ideas. You can also find Fabi online on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. All pictures are copyright Fabiola Woerner and are used with permission. Click on the pattern or tutorial image to link to the relevant post on Fabi’s blog.

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Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Fabi Woerner.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Fabi: I learned to crochet while in was in summer break visiting family in Chile. My aunt and grandma showed me how to do the basic stitches. I practiced throughout my senior year making a scarves and a baby blanket that remained a work in progress for a while.

UC: What inspired you to start blogging?

Fabi: I started blogging several years ago as a way to record my crafts and projects when the list of things I wanted to make far outgrew the amount of time I had available. My first projects were hair bows that I started making for my then 1-year-old baby girl. I picked up crochet again that year when I finished the baby blanket I had started back in college.

Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Fabi’s free Tea Bag Holder crochet pattern.

UC: In addition to crochet, you also talk about raising bilingual children, cooking, and other crafts on your blog. Did you always plan to talk about each of these topics or did your blog evolve over time?

Fabi: Yes, actually, those have always been topics I have mentioned throughout my blog here and there as part of my everyday life. I am now working on moving that content and have created a second blog that focuses more on raising children bilingually, home-education, and life at home. My other site is called Bilingual Mami.

UC: You share your patterns (as well as other parts of your blog) in both English and Spanish. Why did you decide on a bilingual format and what are some of the challenges and benefits of being a bilingual blogger/designer?

Fabi: I truly enjoy communicating in both languages; both languages are part of me and I just really like using them in every way I can. At home, we speak in English and Spanish all day, so it came to a point when I realized I should be sharing that aspect of myself on the blog as well.

The main advantage is that I am able to connect with many others who crochet in South America. I have truly enjoyed the connection I have made with many Spanish-speaking followers. I don’t think would be possible without using my Spanish.

Some may see it as a disadvantage, but although it takes more time to write a post or translate a pattern, I have truly been enjoying making my content available in two languages. Sometimes online translators miss a few things here and there, so by providing my direct translation, I know the content will be found at its most pure meaning.

Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Fabi’s Fabric + Crochet Sundress Tutorial.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Florida?

Fabi: I grew up in Santiago, Chile, where I lived fairly close to a Crafter’s Market called ‘Feria Artesanal de Santa Lucia’ with over 150 shops available. There I could find knitted socks and hats as well as handmade bags made using the tapestry crochet technique. I’d say this technique is quite popular in Chile due to its proximity to Bolivia and Peru.

Circular Ponchos

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Fabi: I attended a Chilean school where we had a class called “Tecnico Manual” or Handcrafts. In this class, we learned how to make different crafts throughout each year. I had this class up until eighth grade and I still remember how to make many of the crafts we did back then. I’m so thankful for those years where I was able to experiment with different media that allowed to discover my own creativity. Also, because I began crafting at such a young age, I encourage my own children to craft and paint at home. Everyone has an inner artist and age is not and should not be a limiting factor.

Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Fabi’s free Crochet Tic-Tac-Toe Board pattern.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?

I enjoy crocheting chevron blankets, including the one I made for one of my children.

I’m also fascinated by granny squares. You get to choose the color(s) and the design and will end up with a one-of-a-kind blanket.

The book Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs is currently on my Wish List. I’ve read awesome reviews on it. Once you learn how to make your motif, you can turn it into anything you want! (UC comment: You can find my reviews of both granny square books, along with 7 others, in this blog post.)

Interview with crochet and bilingual mommy blogger Fabiola Woerner on Underground Crafter

Fabi’s free V Stitch Dishcloth crochet pattern.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Fabi:

Thanks so much for stopping by, Fabi, and for blogging bilingually! 

Interview with Andrea Sanchez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

HMM Andrea Sanchez

As part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series, I’m excited to share an interview today with Andrea Sanchez, the (mostly) knitting designer behind Andrea Sanchez Knits. In addition to her self-published patterns, Andrea’s work has been published by Holla Knits, Interweave Knits, Petite Purls, and Interweave Crochet.

Andrea is also a blogger whose work can be found on her own blog, Life on Laffer, as well as on the Craftsy blog. You can also find Andrea online on Ravelry (as peatmoss83 or on her designer page), on Facebook, on Instagram, and as @andrea_knits on Twitter. All images are used with Andrea’s permission. Click the pattern images to be brought to the Ravelry pattern page.

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Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Andrea Sanchez, in her Adult Tide Pools knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?

Andrea: My mom taught me to crochet first. I was about 19 and in college. We were having a lazy winter Saturday and I asked her to teach me to crochet because I had decided I wanted to make my own blanket. She made me promise that If she bought the yarn I’d actually start and finish the blanket. I’ve always had a kind of will o’ the wisp attitude towards learning new crafty things. But I learned and finished that afghan. It turned out to be about a queen size and I still use it every year. The following winter she tried to teach me to knit (with worsted weight yarn on long, metal needles, size US10.5!) and that lasted all of about half an hour. I was really frustrated and gave up.

I moved to Ohio in 2007 and in 2009 I was working for a woman who crocheted. She introduced me to Interweave Crochet magazine. I was looking though it one day and found an ad for Ravelry. I joined up and was amazed at all the crochet and knit projects. I joined a swap and my swap partner sent me a pattern for a bulky knit scarf and 2 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. I was so excited to have my own knit scarf I ran out that same night and bought the correct sized needles (bamboo this time) and spent the rest of the night watching YouTube videos and trying to work the first two inches of that scarf but finally figured it out. A week later I had my first scarf and I never looked back!

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Beech Street Vest knitting pattern. Image (c) Holla Knits.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Andrea: Before my son was born I started looking for some sweater patterns to make. I found that there just isn’t a big selection of sweater patterns that are more modern for little boys. I had an idea of what i wanted to knit for him and just couldn’t find the pattern. I realized that I had knit a lot of sweaters and I knew how the construction of one worked so I did a swatch and decided to give it a try. I submitted the idea to Petite Purls, it was accepted and that was the Navajo Pullover. After that, every time I had an idea of a sweater for him I just gave the idea a try on my own and that’s how I got started.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Adult Navajo Pullover knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: You primarily design knit projects, with an emphasis on clothing for children and women. What do you enjoy about this type of project?

Andrea: I am very much a product knitter, meaning I’m in it for the finished products. Plenty of times I have started a sweater already knowing where I plan on wearing it or what I want to wear it with. With designing, I have found myself making things that I want to wear right away. I also really enjoy making sweaters for my son. Knowing my knitting is keeping him warm that makes me feel happy. After the successful design of the first Christmas sweater (Little Fisher Pullover) I told my husband that I would make our son a sweater for Christmas forever. So far he’s only had two Christmas’s to knit for, but I love that this is going to become our tradition. I’m already in the planning and swatching phase of the Christmas Sweater 2014.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Pugsley knitting pattern. Image (c) Andrea Sanchez.

I also tend to design mostly sweaters, because I’m a sweater knitter at heart. I love socks and accessories, but there’s something about seeing all the pieces of a sweater come together and be wearable that just gives me a lot of satisfaction.

UC: In addition to writing your own blog, Life on Laffer, you’re also a blogger for Craftsy. What tips do you have for new and emerging bloggers?

Andrea: Just write about what you enjoy. I started blogging a few months after I started knitting. I was so excited to be learning and making new projects that I wanted to share it with everyone! I try to share my real knitting life because I think that makes me (as a blogger) more relatable, instead of just sharing all my perfect finished pieces. Obviously, I share finished objects, but also the time my dog chewed the toe off my first pair of handknit socks, and when I had to rip and reknit the body of a sweater twice because I chose the wrong size. I didn’t want people to read my blog and think my life was so perfect and I crank out all these knitted things. In reality my kitchen and laundry is often neglected so I can knit instead, and occasionally there are dogs getting tangled in yarn and projects.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Sardines knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Ohio?

Andrea: I am Mexican on my mother’s side. Her father immigrated to California, where I grew up, when he was 16. My father’s family is from Spain and they came to California many generations ago, back during Spanish mission days before California received statehood.

My grandmothers on all sides crocheted while I was growing up (lots of doilies!) but it was never the thing. My mother learned to crochet at school and I don’t remember any of my cousins doing it. I also wasn’t very into to crocheting when I loved there. Other than my starter blanket, I made one other blanket and that was it. In Ohio, I found that “making” made me feel more Midwestern! I joined a Stitch ‘n Bitch group right away and have found a really vibrant group of crafters. I have a good friend who is a true maker, from food to household items, to much more. I love being a part of this group of so many talented women. Our town also hosts many craft fairs and has some great locally handmade shops.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Midwinter Cardigan knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Andrea: As an adult I’ve felt that I kind of missed out on having a strong Hispanic culture. My family is very assimilated to mainstream American culture so I feel like I have to make my own culture resurgence. Learning to cook was one of the things that has helped me feel a connection to my heritage. I grew up eating excellent Mexican food but never really learned to cook on my own. I taught myself to make tamales and now that’s something that I do every winter. I want my son to have a good connection to his cultural heritage and I feel like that’s going to come from my own connection to it.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Mustill knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

Andrea: My favorite would have to be Knitting Without Tears. It was one of the first books I received as a new knitter and the one that I have referred to most frequently. That Elizabeth Zimmermann sure knew her stuff!

Heirloom Baby Knits

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Andrea: I have quite a few blogs in my blog roll that I visit as often as I can but I have been really into knitting podcasts lately. My new favorite is Curious Handmade. She is also a designer and has small children so I often feel like I can relate. I’m also a regular listener of The Knitmore Girls, The Doubleknit Podcast, and Knitting Pipeline. (UC comment: I love podcasts, too, and they let me crochet and knit while listening. And, I’ve recently launched my own podcast, the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show.)

UC: Do you have any upcoming projects to share?

I have a few new patterns that will be released with various companies this fall, as well as some set for late spring publication. It’s amazing how far in advance one can work when designing knitwear! I am also working on a knitwear book which makes me immensely proud, excited, and terrified all at the same time. It’s quite an undertaking and still has quite a way to go before being published.

Thank you for stopping by, Andrea, and best wishes for success with your book project!

Blog and website relaunch!

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I’m so glad to announce the relaunch of my blog and the Underground Crafter website! As my regular readers know, I’ve been experience technical issues on the blog for the last 18 months due to issues with my former web host. I knew I needed to switch, but it was tough to put aside the amount of time required to ensure a successful relaunch and I was terrified of the switching process.

Thanks to the hard work of dear MC – and many phone calls and chats with the team at InMotion Hosting (special shout out to Mike R, Larry W, Kayla H, Alex K, and Jacob M), I made the transition late last week. I am so impressed with the folks at InMotion and their fabulous customer service that I even became an affiliate! (Cue MC saying, “I told you so.”)

My former web host gave me a hard time about leaving and had set up many things improperly, so I needed to spend several days cleaning up the blog on the back end. I have to thank Carlota Zimmerman, the Creativity Yenta (interviewed here), for her tough love last week when I was very frustrated and even considering web site abandonment! I decided to change my perspective by looking at the downtime as an opportunity to do some much needed website overhaul.

I know I’ve posted a link to this video on the blog before. I guess “Back in the New York Groove” is the song I most associate with triumphant returns ;).

You’ll notice a few new things around here. Thanks so much for your patience and support, and I’m very excited to be back! And, starting tomorrow I’m celebrating my return with a week filled with new free patterns and giveaways, so stop back for your chance to win.


Interview with Tamara Kelly from Moogly

I can’t believe the last day of March is already here! I had so much fun celebrating National Crochet Month, and I’m happy to end the festivities with an interview with crochet designer and blogger, Tamara Kelly.

You may know Tamara from her blog, Moogly, or from crocheting one of the more than 130 designs she has published since 2008. Besides her blog, you can also find her online on Ravelry (as tamarairene or on her designer page), on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on Twitter as @mooglyblog.

All photos are used with permission and are copyright Tamara Kelly unless otherwise noted.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tamara Bio Photo 2013

Tamara Kelly. Photo (c) RSH Photography.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Tamara: I tried to teach myself in my early twenties from a pamphlet I’d picked up at a craft store – what a disaster! And it didn’t help that I’d decided on a super fuzzy chunky boucle and a Tunisian hook (not that I knew the difference). I set it aside, thinking crochet wasn’t for me, until a few years later. At that point I’d gained a baby, as well as a sister-in-law who’d been crocheting for years. She showed me how to chain and single crochet, and in those 5 minutes I was “hooked!” I taught myself the rest from a stitch dictionary, and crochet quickly became my favorite craft!

Rainbow in the Clouds Pillow

Rainbow in the Clouds Pillow.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Tamara: I made many projects from other people’s patterns, but I often found I was making my own changes and improvements. When I started doing commission crochet work, other crocheters asked me to share my patterns – and I found I liked the design side better! With designing, I get to crochet what I want, when I want it, and never have to make the same thing twice if I don’t want to.

Riley Cross Body Bag

Riley Cross Body Bag.

UC: You self-publish all of your work. What do you see as the advantages and challenges of self-publishing?

Tamara: The advantage is definitely control – I love being my own boss! All my deadlines are ones I set, and if I need to take a week off, or scrap an idea completely, or change directions, there’s no one telling me no. The challenge is not having a team – people to bounce ideas off of, people who are media and promotion experts. Luckily, I’ve been able to join a community of other crochet bloggers, and we support each other and help each other out.

Moroccan Midnight Cowl

Moroccan Midnight Cowl.  (Tamara also designed a matching pair of fingerless mitts and slouch hat.)

UC: You’ve undergone a few transformations online – from a mommy blogger, to a maker, to a designer/blogger. How did you make the decision to focus on designs, and then to offer your patterns free on your blog?

Tamara: I love new challenges, and I love being my own boss. When I tried mommy blogging, I got bored – it just wasn’t for me. When I started taking commission work, I loved getting paid for my hobby, but I didn’t love making the same things over and over again – and suddenly I had a whole bunch of bosses, with their own unique demands! When I design, I design for myself, for my kids, to my own tastes. I always love what I’m doing, and I think that that’s what comes through on the blog! I decided to make most of my patterns free, for several reasons. During the 10 years I spent crocheting as a hobby, free patterns were almost all I could afford. Additionally, I have a husband who works in the advertising field, so that model was familiar to me. By having ads on my blog, I’m able to provide free patterns, and give back to the community, while still earning a much needed income for my family – everybody wins! And that makes me happy.

Easter Lily

Easter Lily (November Lily).

UC: Do you see yourself primarily as a blogger, designer, or publisher, or do you wear all three hats equally?

Tamara: Definitely a blogger and a designer – and blogging and social media certainly take more actual hours of the day… but I’m always designing in the back of my head at the same time. I crochet in my sleep! Publishing is a side effect of running a blog I suppose, but it’s not something I think about too much. I just love putting together a great blog and fun patterns, and sharing them with others!

Circle of Love Afghan

Circle of Love Afghan.

UC: What tips or advice do you have for emerging crochet bloggers?

Tamara: Keep it positive, and be true to yourself and your own voice. Don’t worry too much about what will “sell” – share the things you love, and let that love show. Be generous with your time and talents, and find like-minded bloggers to network with. If you have a question, someone else has likely had it too!

Wavy Baby Blanket

Wavy Baby Blanket.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?

Tamara: Hands down my favorites have to be my stitch dictionaries. I have big ones, little specialized ones, and I hope to get some Japanese ones soon! The Harmony Guides 300 Crochet Stitches Volume 6 is what taught me how to read a pattern, how to read charts, and what amazing things crochet can do! (UC comment: This is one of my favorites, too, because it is so thorough. I’m also a stitch dictionary junkie, and you can see my reviews of this book and 20+ other crochet stitch guides here.) It is sadly out of print, so I had my copy specially spiral bound to preserve it. I still use it regularly!

Magic Spike Mandala Square

Magic Spike Mandala Square.

UC: Are there any crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Tamara: So many! Ravelry is a great go-to of course, as well as The Yarn Box and All Free Crochet. I visit dozens of other crochet blogs every week, including Stitch 11, Repeat Crafter Me, Petals to Picots, Fiber Flux, The Crochet Lounge… and so many more!

Blackberry Salad Striped Baby Blanket

Blackberry Salad Striped Baby Blanket.

UC: What plans do you have for the rest of 2014?

Tamara: There’s so many exciting things happening this year – not all of which I can talk about yet! I’m always planning new crochet and yarn related giveaways – and I love promoting small businesses that might be interested in giveaways, including other designers, indie yarn dyers, hook makers, you name it! Also in 2014, I’m leading the Moogly Afghan Crochet-a-Long, where we crochet a different 12″ square every 2 weeks from now until November – that will give us enough for a 4′ x 6′ afghan at the end of the year, and the month of December to put it all together in time for gift giving! It’s not too late to join up, and it’s all free. (UC comment: There’s an unofficial Moogly Afghan CAL 2014 group started by fans on Ravelry, too.)

Thanks for stopping by for an interview, Tamara! 

Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 1

VKL NYNY

I was thrilled to receive a press pass again this year to attend Vogue Knitting Live.  My big plans for Friday included possibly taking a class (depending on what was still open), and meeting a fellow blogger for dinner.

Desert Sunset Infinity Cowl outside3

I left home very excited this morning.  (Ok, my smile looks a little forced, but that’s because I was waiting for MC to snap the picture.  You’ll have to take it on faith that I was stoked!)  Unfortunately, things went a little haywire at work and I didn’t get to leave early.

I made it down to VK Live just in time to meet Tien.  I’ve been reading her blog, AutumnGeisha, for the past few years and when I found out that her husband got her tickets to come to New York for VK Live, I knew it was our chance to meet up.  The Marketplace was just opening and we had the chance to make our first run through.  (It turns out that we both like to scope out the shops first, then go back to make purchases.  I think it’s how we can convince ourselves that we aren’t buying too much yarn.)

MichellesAssortmentlogo

I also wanted to introduce myself to Michelle from Michelle’s Assortment.  I’m going to be helping out at her booth on the Fifth Floor in the Marketplace Saturday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.  She is one of the sponsors of my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long.  Michelle will be providing a shawl pin as the March prize, and a set of 4 stitch markers as a fall prize.  They are even more beautiful in person than they are on her Etsy page, so the winners are in for some treats.

Tien bought a lovely Matryoshka doll shawl pin from Michelle, and then we were off to dinner at John’s Pizzeria. It was great to chat with Tien about blogging, designing, yarn, and other fun things.

You may be wondering where all the pictures are.  Confession: Tien let me leave my bag in her hotel room, and I forgot to take my camera out with me.  I promise tomorrow’s post will have some more pictures!